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Ground broken for new Dairy Learning Center

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By Kendra Knutson
UWRF University Communications

 Oct. 23, 2006--Representatives of the UW System, the UWS Board of Regents, the state of Wisconsin, the dairy industry and UWRF students, faculty and staff celebrated the groundbreaking for the new Dairy Learning Center on Oct. 20.

About 150 people attended the event, as well as a cow from the Lab Farm No. 1 milking herd. The ceremony began with a welcome from Dale Gallenberg, dean of the UWRF College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, who introduced UWRF Chancellor Don Betz, the first speaker.

Betz acknowledged the contractors, UWRF project leaders, major donors, and others responsible for making the dairy learning center possible.

"Approximately $500,000 has been gifted by individuals, companies, and business to make this project possible," said Betz. "It's very clear to me that this initiative is part of the historic mission of this institution."  

Others speakers included Jesus Salas of the UW System Board of Regents; Steve Kelm, chair of the UWRF department of animal and food science; Dayton Hougaard, area sales manager for Land O' Lakes and Purina Feeds Division, and Rep. Kitty Rhoades, (R-Hudson) of the 30 th Assembly District.

Kelm spoke of the excitement that faculty and students have for the new facility. "As a faculty member and chair of the department, I'm excited that we'll be able to use this new tool, but mostly I'm excited for our students," he said. "A project like this required a lot of vision and a lot of perspective and understanding of what this institution is about."

Kelm noted the key objectives of the new facility: to be a student-centered project, to address environmental concerns; to be a good community citizen, and to be cow-focused enterprise. "They are tremendous creatures that have amazing abilities," said Kelm.

Gallenberg also hailed the partners who contributed to making the dairy center a reality. "This project has had and will continue to have many strong industry friends and partners," he said.

Refreshments were served and attendees socialized after a brief program and when industry leaders, UW System representatives, UWRF faculty, students and administrators and community members overturned the first shovels of dirt for the center's new site.

The complex is expected to be completed by the summer of 2007 and will replace the old dairy facility, constructed in the 1950s, located at Lab Farm No. 1 near the main campus. It will include a compost bedded pack barn for approximately 100 lactating cows, a BouMatic double-6 herringbone parlor, which will increase milking speed and efficiency, as well as a special needs barn, calf barn, heifer barn, hay barn, feed shed and machine shed.

The facility will also feature a StepMetrix automated lameness detection system with sensors that will monitor weight distribution of the cow in order to identify lame animals; research bays with Calan gates, allowing the herd to be split into groups for nutrition trials, confinement and pasture-based management systems; and two 25-student classrooms attached to the milking center that can be expanded for industry-sponsored workshops and meetings.

UWRF is well known in the U.S. dairy industry as having one of the three largest dairy science undergraduate programs in the country with about 110 dairy science majors. In addition, the program has more than 450 animal science majors.  

Rep. Rhoades, who is a UWRF alumna, noted that the facility will have great impact. "This facility will help shape the industry not only in our state, but in our country, and in the world," she said.    


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:07:41 Central Daylight Time


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